Lifting Aspirations and Accessing Engineering

Added 25th May 2013

‘Lifting Aspirations’

An interactive learning activity aimed at building annual events for the lifting and access engineering sector.

Piloted in 2012 with the target audience of schools, museums, science centres, engineering festivals and sector trade shows. The project has now partnered with ‘VertiKal Net’ the UK’s networking body for ‘Lifting and Access’ engineering. This partnership links to the sectors agencies mobilising ambassadors and sponsors; facilitating access to engineering equipment and careers advice.

Young people are mentored in teams by engineering ambassadors from academic and industrial backgrounds to construct working engineering models. Teams then compete at public venues for engineering awards from industry partners.

In addition to teamwork, learning outcomes include contextual understanding of engineering principles; hydraulic systems, pulleys, gears, electromagnetism and methods of actuation or control. Young people gain understanding of their region’s engineering heritage, and through working with an ambassador will see themselves as engineers of the future.

Crane Building and Crane Operating Challenges for Primary and Secondary Schools - see workshop flyer

June2013- The Crane Challenge is invited to Vertikal Days the largest lifting and access event in the UK and Ireland. 

June 2013 - Enginering Festival of the North East, Riveting Stuff. Engineering heritage and the Tees shipyards.

May 2013 - Schools, businesses and volunteers booked in for what will be an annual event in Bath for Primary School children to interact with people who work in the regions diverse engineering sector. Showcase crane challenge at Green Park Station 

'The children are learning on so many levels. It gives them a real reason to be communicating, broadening their language and communicating using technical language. I’m really aware of the impact this is having on the children who are EAL. It’s just brilliant.' Alison Tanner Year 5 Teacher Cameley Primary School

Information for schools.pdf 

Information for business.pdf  


Rotork Logo  University of Bath homepage

Bath Fringe Festival 2013

CIBSE: Engineering A Sustainable Built Environment

              Climbing Fish      


Integral     AECOM Internet

Buro Happold



Bath Cranes Wars final event was held at Green Park Station Bath on 25th May 2013

The winning team 


Sparrow Crane hire takes on the children's cranes


Winning time for the lift and drop task was 1 minute 46 seconds 


Sparrow Crane and its target 


A chance to put the model cranes in context by operating a real crane

A big thank you to Glyn Griffiths and colleagues from bath University for designing the model cranes

 Schools Workshops May 22nd to 24th 2013-


Kit ready to go


Contextualising the theory with Stuart from Sparrow Cranes - 


Top-Trumps Engineers - card game with 40 Engineers and scores for their job details



Morning briefings for volunteer engineers at the Museum of Bath at Work

The empty crane yard at the end of each days building and testing


Testing the prototype with ten year olds April 2013-


Initial design workshops with engineers March 2013

A meeting of 12 engineers to explore the museum; design and engineer practical solutions and plan how they will use these to convey the learning messages and inspire 7 to 10 year olds when they run the project in May. The initial construction and design was by Phil Rowles of UTAS (Claverham) using an Angle Poise lamp fitted out syringes and pneumatics.

1. Play with an angle poise lamp fitted out with hydraulics 

2.Explore the museum exhibits for relevant engineering principles

3.Design and engineer a crane to the projects criteria

4. Test ideas and compile a list of design solutions that could be part of a kit for 10 year olds to experiment with in May
5. Glyn Griffiths from Bath University has developed pop-together components for the grabber and various other parts of the crane kit. These will allow  the ten year olds to make decisions on the types of mechanisms for actuating movement as well as varying the speed and strength. He has also introduced gears as a method of actuating movement.


Next steps - Trial the kit with a sample group of 10 year olds


Press release April 2013- Crane Wars comes to Bath
BUDDING engineers in Bath are being offered the chance to improve their skills, learn more about the city's industrial heritage and explore their future.

Primary school pupils will collaborate with experts from local businesses to design and build working cranes at the Museum of Bath at Work. Their creations will then go on show and compete for engineering awards at Green Park Station as part of the Bath Fringe Festival on the 25th May at 2pm.Teams of youngsters will compete against each other. Children will also have their work cut out to beat the mini crane from Sparrow Cranes.

Teams of children aged seven to 11 from local Primary Schools are being invited to take part in Crane Wars, a new educational programme that is intended to become an annual event. Organisers have recruited volunteer engineers from Bath and the surrounding area to support the initiative and engineering businesses and local firms are  sponsoring primary schools to take part. Volunteer engineers have worked with educationalists to devise a kit of parts that push and bolt together so that teams of young people can build unique cranes that they think will win the Crane-Wars challenge. These cranes will be built during workshops held at the Museum of Bath at Work from 22nd to 24th May.

Crane Wars is run by My Future My Choice, which works with schools and volunteers to help develop “future-fit learners”. Its director Hugh Thomas said the programme's workshops would benefit the children and adults involved.

“We want to stimulate engineers to share their stories, passion and expertise in innovative ways with children and to create debate between people of all ages. We will look at the heritage of engineering in Bath and the role of engineering in the future. Children will have the chance to find out about different types of engineering jobs and how they relate to science and technology learning in schools. The Museum of Bath at Work is a great venue for this programme because it has so many artefacts from Bath's industrial past and it has a workshop space for engineers to make science learning fun.”

Crane-making is a major part of Bath's heritage. The firm Stothert and Pitt, which dates back to 1785, was one of the world’s major crane builders in the 19th and 20th centuries and even when it closed its engineering works in 1989 it employed more than 500 people. Their legacy lives on through patents and license agreements used worldwide. Engineering and metal working in Bath in its heyday employed thousands of people. It supplied products such as bedsteads, boilers, cement mixers and automobile parts and led to the invention of angle poise, adapted for use in lamps in virtually every home. Companies like Cross Manufacturing and Rotork in Bath continue the inventive engineering tradition exporting products requiring unique technical skills around the world.

For further information about Crane Wars, contact

My Future My Choice

Polly Barnes by email at  or by calling 0117 3290387. 

Museum of Bath at Work

Stuart Burroughs by email at or by calling 01225 318348

Bath Fringe Festival 2013

Wendy Mathews by email at  or by calling   01225 480079






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